SAN ANTONIO – We are in the midst of early voting here in Texas and already thousands across the state have cast their ballot.
But still, there are thousands more who will wait until election day to vote.
The chair of the Bexar County Democrat and Republican parties both spoke with KSAT 12 News about the priorities, the focus, and the future of the respective parties.
Monica Ramirez Alcantara, the chair of the Bexar County Democratic Party, said the party’s main focus is to turn out as many voters as possible.
Jeff McManus, the chair of the Bexar County Republican Party, said they’re focusing on crime, inflation and “integrity.”
He said transparency has been “very lacking” in the Commissioners Court and City Council.
The focus among the parties is similar: get out and vote on priorities.
“What we are trying to remind everyone is that we just can’t sit back on our hands and hope that there’s change,” Alcantara said. “So the only way there’s going to be change is if we actually go out and use our voice, but most importantly, we use our vote and that’s what it’s going to take.”
“It’s not very difficult right now simply because of the state of the economy, the increased crime that has crept up over the past two years,” McManus said.
Both parties are advocating to go out and vote for change — it just depends on what voters want that change to look like.
On one side, there is the idea of a turning tide across Texas.
“I believe locally that wave is still here. I believe the wave is still coming. And I see that we’re chipping away at it. My hope is that... wave takes it over. But if it doesn’t, what I can see with the data that we have is that that wave has chipped away at that red state,” Alcantara said.
But the GOP is not so convinced of any blue wave.
“I don’t believe that the majority of the people in the state of Texas would become fooled. To believe that the blue wave would benefit them financially? Sure hasn’t lately. Benefit them with individual rights? Sure didn’t during COVID. Benefit them with secure borders? Sure hasn’t happened there,” McManus said.
As for the local races, both parties are making a concentrated effort to advocate for the tops of the tickets.
“At the top of our ticket locally, we have our DA’s race, which is Joe Gonzalez, and we have our county judge’s race with Judge Peter Sakai,” Alcantara said.
While the race for Governor is at the top of so many’s minds, McManus knows it comes down to the local government.
“We’re focusing on Commissioners Court, because that’s this year. And we have two good candidates there. We have Grant Moody and we have Trish DeBerry,” McManus said. “We have Marc LaHood running for DA, which is a great candidate.”
“We, as the party of the Republican Party of Bexar County need to focus on our Bexar County races. We need to vote for support all the other candidates, whether they’re state or federal. But if we don’t fix our own backyard here in Bexar County, we cannot expect those in Washington to fix our nation or those in Austin to fix our state.”
The Bexar County Democrats, though, say Beto O’Rourke is the top of their ticket.
“We had Governor Abbott in charge for eight years and he’s complained about crime and so on and so forth. But he controls a lot of what happens here in Texas. And so if that is the complaint, then I agree with him. He’s right. Something needs to change. Something needs to happen. And that’s new leadership,” Alcantara said.
Since Bexar County is growing, and the population is only increasing, both chairs talked about the influx of new residents.
“From California, from Oregon, from Washington State, from New York. And welcome them here and help them understand that they made the right decision. Because you know why they left? Because they didn’t like it there,” McManus said.
McManus said the future for the Bexar County GOP is an exciting one.
“Bright. Because the more people that have home ownership, the more they cherish their ability of self-expression and their personal rights, because that is their castle,” McManus said.
And as more people come to the Alamo City and our surrounding areas, Alcantara believes that blue wave will only get bigger.
“I can see with the data that we have is that that wave has chipped away at that red state. And so we’re trying to do our part locally to make sure that that happens,” Alcantara said.